Flour Power: Coastal Virginia’s Best Bakeries Part II
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International Sweet Eats
Ooh, that texture. More pillowy than Parker House rolls. Mmm, that taste. Sweet, but subtler than filled donuts (their look-alike cousins). Korean breads baked every morning by Seoul-born Jaehun and Yoonjung Yu at their decade-old bakery gush with mocha cream, cantaloupe puree, red and white bean cream and bestselling buttercream. It’s impossible to leave without tearing into one of the individually wrapped, transparent packets labeled with each treat’s wholesome ingredients. Hence, the self-serve Keurig. 13282 Warwick Blvd., Newport News. 757-988-0450.
It’s a bakery exuding the intoxicating scent of fresh bread. It’s a humble, order-at-the-counter café. It’s an homage to Filipino cuisine, and it’s an American dream where raves for pancit and crispy, cigar-tight lumpia rival reviews for pepperoni bread and subs. One glass case boasts pandesal (rolls) and ensemada (sugary, buttery buns in flavors like pineapple and ube—aka purple yam), while another displays brownies, chocolate chip cookies and fruit-filled turnovers, all glories of Glory’s. 665 Aragona Blvd., Virginia Beach. 757-557-0613. 1920 Centerville Turnpike, Virginia Beach. 757-479-3316. Glorys-Bakery-Virginia-Beach.Sites.Tablehero.com
Standing before this tienda’s glass cases (near its attached, popular taqueria), balancing your self-serve tray and ogling guava pastries, oversized cheesecake squares, strawberry log rolls and chocolate bombines (little pound cakes impersonating hot fudge sundaes), it’s hard to tell where the dangling piñatas strung overhead end and the sweets begin; everything enchants with the same confetti colors. Be sure to pick up some pan dulce (sweet breads), including conchas (seashell-shaped), for an authentic Mexican breakfast. 3201 E. Ocean View Ave., Norfolk. 757-531-0033. Jessy.IntegrityB.com/Tienda
Gateaux Bakery & Cafe photos by Ilsy Serrano
Gateaux Bakery & Cafe
While Gateaux is an ostensible go-to for their eponymous specialty cakes, the French flavored patisserie has an exquisite oeuvre of crispy croissants, flaky bear claws (anything from apple to apricot), multicolored macarons (blackberry, strawberry, seasonal fruits) and chocolate-covered éclairs gushing with custard. Their Paris Brest is a tempting treat replete with whipped cream and coffee wedged between a wheel of soft dough, and a sweet homage to the Parisian pastry. 1628 Independence Blvd., #1500, Virginia Beach. 757-271-9220. Gateaux-Cakes.com
Rigoletto Italian Bakery & Café
If you crave delights worthy of being passed down through generations by capable Italian grandmas, come here for authentic Italian desserts like cannolis, tiramisu, biscotti, pizzelles and so much more. Captivating glass cases overwhelm the senses with a wealth of colorful Italian cookies and signature rolls, like one filled with hazelnut mousse and lobster tail cream rolled in Italian sponge cake. For something truly memorable, try the sfogliatella, a flaky pastry filled with ricotta cheese and candied citrus. 2181 Upton Drive, #414, Virginia Beach. 757-427-3999. RigolettoItalianBakery.com
“Full and wider.” That’s how the late Rowena Fullinwider elucidated her name, simultaneously describing the best way to open your mouth to savor the luscious pound cakes and spreads (almond cake and lemon curd the most-loved with carrot jam close behind) she began making in Ghent in 1983, garnering the premier Virginia’s Finest distinction. Operations have scaled back (the tearoom enshrined only in memories) and moved to Freemason, but whimsical Rowena’s still charms and ships worldwide. 243B W. Bute St., Norfolk. 757-627-8699. Rowenas.com
Plaza Bakery, Virginia Beach. Photos by Ilsy Serrano
For over 50 years, the family-run Plaza Bakery has delivered exquisitely prepared wedding cakes, holiday cookies, crème-filled doughnuts, fresh breads, pies and other sugary treats to Virginia Beach residents. Glass cases line the modest bakery parading its selection of beloved desserts and signature petit fours. The diamond-shaped bites are crafted from a white almond cake, finished with a poured fondant coating and garnished with Plaza Bakery’s signature rose. 1940 Laskin Rd., Suite 305, Virginia Beach. 757-340-3931. Eeato003.Tripod.com/PlazaBakery
When we say Naas is old school, we mean it affectionately. There’s nothing fancy or frilly about this classic confectionery on Norfolk’s Tidewater Drive—until it comes to what’s inside the case. Here you’ll find a reasonably priced selection of cookies, Danishes, turnovers, baklava, donuts, pies and cakes—everyday and special occasion—all worth sinking your sweet tooth into. 3527 Tidewater Dr., Norfolk. 757-623-3858.